54-foot-span Paper Airplane Breaks Record!

Oct 03, 2013 7 Comments by

What do you get when you combine 500 bottles of glue, 753 square feet of paper and 200 bottles of superglue? A flight-worthy 54-foot-span paper airplane that’s breaks the world record! The 24-pound aircraft was launched off a 7.2-foot platform and flew for 54 feet, longer than the distance flown by the previous record holder. Because the 14-member team from the University of Technology in Braunschweig, Germany, could not fly the plane first to test it, they stress-tested various parts before final assembly.

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Here’s the scoop from Germany’s “The Local:”

According to the rules of the Guinness World Records, a paper aircraft needs to fly at least 15 metres to qualify, so the engineering challenge was to build a craft as large as possible whilst still aerodynamic enough to fly the distance. The Braunschweig team’s plane not only surpassed that threshold with an 18-metre flight, it smashed the record for a paper plane’s wingspan.  With an 18-metre wingspan, it took the accolade off the previous record holders, the Delft University of Technology in Netherlands, by four metres. Their record was set in 1995.

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The team, including nine university students, four members of staff and one school student, had been working on the record-breaking bid for months. They had a set-back in November, however, when the prototype’s wing snapped off before they could launch it.

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The launch was a tense moment for the whole team: “We were all really excited and then suddenly broke into cheering,” said university spokesman Elisabeth Hoffmann.  Better still, for the team members, the record-breaking project counted towards their degrees: “In engineering degrees, students sit tests in which they have to build special structures out of paper and glue”, Hoffmann explained, calling the project “pure engineering excellence”.

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Debra Cleghorn, Featured News

About the author

Executive editor About me: I’m a publishing professional who has a passion for aviation and RC, and I love creating issues, books and a website that help RC pilots to enjoy this sport even more. I admire scale aircraft and enjoy the convenience of flying smaller electrics.

7 Responses to “54-foot-span Paper Airplane Breaks Record!”

  1. Fernand Deschenes 14651L m.a.a.c says:

    Je vout Fèlicite sa prent beaucoup de patience pour faire un gros project comme sa Je lève mon chapeaux Fernand 60 years in the hobby

  2. John Spoonamore says:

    Why no video?

  3. Manuel Acosta says:

    Even without video, amazing record and well deserved recognition!!!

    • AMA 850233 says:

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6kPOyKnH2OI

      A hand launch by the burliest guy they had, it appears. But the elevated platform from which it was launched seems to make the distance record a tad overstated. It flies like a rock indoors. I think we have some kids in the AMA who could build one much lighter, with more dihedral and a single boom fuselage. Slide on some removable wing skids so it will make lots of landings. Lighter not crash withstand-able. Guiness record anyone?

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_MMSE1T0jjg shows it is aerodynamic.

  4. Gary says:

    Not to burst a bubble, because the construction of this plane is an extraordinary feat, but the glide ratio of this 24 pound aircraft is less than half of a 747. I feel that this isn’t a true fact but just a common mistake of flying an untrimmed or unbalanced aircraft. By looking at the photo it is clearly a controlled crash landing (somewhere around 15-20 degrees nose down?). If more care was taken doing CG calculations AND airfoil incidence settings I feel that a more than 20:1 glide ratio could have been achieved. They only flew the length of one wingspan…Orville and Wilbur wouldn’t have been impressed ;)

  5. Karl A Gabzdyl says:

    Would have loved more details. Great Job and the type of aviation article I love! Video would have been nice, but I would have loved to understand their design perimeters.

    :P

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